Saturday, July 16, 2016

Suspicions & Plans

This week has been a long & a bit of an emotional one for me. I had my PET scan on Tuesday the 12th & that was a bit stressful. During a PET scan you are injected with a glucose solution that has a small amount of radioactive material. Cancer cells often use more glucose than normal cells so you will be able to "see" them on the scan. I'm always a difficult stick & this time proved no different. It took them 6 attempts before they could get the IV in to give me the medication needed to compete the scan. I DESPISE to be stuck in the top of my hand but they did it on stick #5 and still missed! The winning stick was in my wrist, then I had to wait an hour for the solution to be absorbed, and then the scan lasted about 20 minutes.

My second appointment with my surgeon was on Wed. the 13th. I was informed that not only was my "suspicious" lymph node lighting up on the PET, but so was a place on my hip & pelvis. This didn't change my treatment plan, and he was still planning the same (chemo first and then surgery). 

I met my oncologist on Friday, July 15th. He was more concerned about the spot on my pelvis & hip & has scheduled a bone scan next week. We also discussed my treatment plan & he agrees with my surgeon. We will do chemo first & then surgery. With my age & otherwise good health he said he felt comfortable going at this as aggressively as he could. The goal at this time is to get a port put in early next week and then begin chemotherapy on Friday June 22nd. That is less than a week away you guys. I don't know why but scheduling those two things - the port and the actual chemo itself - has made this all very real & my spirits have been a bit lower today. I'm sure things will improve tomorrow but today has been hard. I can't even really explain why. I knew all these things were going to happen & they seem to be happening right along with my expectations but it was still a low day...

My actual chemo is pretty typical for my type of cancer. I'll be receiving a treatment called AC-T. I'll get four bi-weekly treatments of AC & then up to 12 weekly treatments of the T. AC (red devil) treatment includes two drugs: doxorubicin (Adriamycin), and cyclophosphamide (Cytoxan). The T stands for Taxol. 

The "A" part of this "chemo cocktail" blocks DNA production in your cells, and inhibits the enzymes responsible for repairing DNA. Cells can't live without DNA and die off when they're deprived of it. In fact, some even kill themselves when their DNA is damaged. While "A" doesn’t distinguish between cancer cells and normal cells, it has a greater negative effect on cancer cells since those cells are dividing so rapidly. The "C" part of this chemo combo stops cancer cells from replicating.

Taxol, which is given after the AC, will stop the cells from dividing. Cancers form when cells within the body multiply uncontrollably and abnormally. These cells then spread and destroy nearby tissues. Taxol works by stopping the cancer cells from dividing and multiplying. This kills the cancer cells and stops the cancer from growing.

I expect next week to come in like a wrecking ball if we are going to start chemo on Friday. Please forgive me if I am short or don't respond to a message as quickly as I usually would. It all still seems very surreal to me at times - like I'm watching someone else's life. We have told our two older children but I still haven't figured out to tell my five year old. The details are going to have to be told to them all at some point before Friday in a way they can understand & then we all just have to get ready to hold on for this ride. 


  1. I have given these agents to many BRCA patients and like any other medication how their bodies reacted to them was very different for each person. If there is a bright side to chemotherapy regimens it's that the management of the side effects have come a very long way. I'll be praying for healing for you continuously throughout your treatment.

  2. Encouragement, love, strength, and faith.
    My heart hurts deeply for you.